Outselling names like Adele and Amy Winehouse in his native Iceland, to become the number-one selling artist on iTunes, Jon Jonsson is something of a pop sensation is his native country. Being named ‘Best New Artist’ and having his first four singles hitting the top 30, the likeable singer-songwriter has released his debut album, ‘Wait For Fate.’
Having graduated from Boston University in the USA, Jon Jonsson is keen to let US listeners in on his pitch-perfect pop. We took a moment to catch up with Jon Jonsson to find out about his album, working with friends, college, advice, and more…
Popculturez.com: Would you begin by introducing yourself to Popculturez’s readers?
Hello Popculturez, and thanks for showing interest in my music. I am Jón Jónsson, a 26 year old singer/songwriter from Iceland. I am a pretty joyful guy, and I love to perform and share my joy through my music. I’m also the editor-in-chief of a weekly here in Iceland called, ‘Monitorn,’ and at this very moment I am in Liechtenstein with my soccer team, we’re playing a team here in the Europa League. So, yes… I like to be busy…
Popculturez.com: How did your music career begin and how old were you?
I’ve always been singing, and I learned to play the classical guitar when I was 8 years old. I started to write my own stuff when I was around 11 or 12, but the oldest song on my debut album was written when I had just turned 20, in the fall of 2005. I didn’t go all in until I graduated from Boston University in 2009. My friends over there had motivated me by telling me how they really liked my tunes. And, being from an island in the North Atlantic, I thought that was pretty cool! In the fall 2009 my friend, Kristjan Bjarnason, and I traveled the US and played several gigs, then we went straight to the studio when we got home in December. I released my first single, ‘Lately,’ to Icelandic radio in late February 2010. Luckily, the national radio liked the song ,and slowly the other stations picked it up as well… So at that point, this whole thing started I was 24.
Popculturez: Unlike some artists, you went and graduated from college. Do you believe that every artist should experience this lifestyle?
I’m not sure if that is the right thing to do for every artist. Some people know soon in life where they are heading. They should aim right at their goals, and if college is just a thing that slows them down they shouldn’t necessarily have to go there. I, however, have always been a late bloomer and going to college in the States was a great experience for me that affected me in many different ways. It definitely helped me figure out that I wanted to become a musician, and it also helped me broaden my horizons, and I made tons of good friends. Friends show you love, and that helps when writing songs… So, even though I can’t claim that every artist should go, I do recommend college for everybody that want to experience a great time and prepare themselves for life.
Popculturez.com: You get to play with some of your best friends. Do you think your friends have pushed you a little harder to succeed than if you had other band members?
Definitely. My friend, Kristjan, is one of the biggest reasons I am doing music at this level. We met in high school and he was the first person to record my music. Then later, when I was a student at BU, I would always go record new songs at Kristjan’s place while I was in Iceland during breaks. He would have the other guys come in and record the rest. So, it was always exciting to get emails from Kristjan at that time with a fresh mp3 of your own song. Kristjan has definitely pushed me, besides the fact that I doubt that I would enjoy this as much if I couldn’t share it with my friends.
Popculturez.com: Your music has a mix of Pop, R&B, and a hint of Soul. What is your favorite type of genre?
I’ve always been a really mainstream guy, even though I can listen to pretty much every genre. But the music I listen to the most is music similar to the music I do. I like singer/songwriters that play their guitar or piano and sing their heart out. I have to sense some true emotions to dig the tunes and that, for me, is just true soul…
Popculturez.com: Your debut album ‘Wait for Fate’ was recently released. How would you describe the meaning and sound of your album to readers that have not yet heard it?
‘Wait For Fate’ is an album that is easy to listen to. All the tracks have pretty simple arrangements, and I like to think that the melodies represent who I am, because they are open minded and can often be wide in range. The lyrics are mostly about love; love in its widest meaning. Even though I might not say it straight out, the lyrics are not just about the love between two people, but also the love that you should be able to feel all around you – from friends, family or even the people you’re doing business with. Therefore the album is pretty bright and colorful.
Popculturez.com: There are many young, talented people trying to get noticed in the music industry these days. What is one piece of advice that helped you reach your goal?
Just stay true to their own instinct and keep the faith. If the music represents who you are, the people will sense that and respect you for being true. Being true can be someone that makes music you’ve never heard before, but it can also be someone making pop songs. And even though things don’t immediately work out, you can’t lose faith. If you work hard it will eventually all pay off.
Popculturez.com: Lastly, where can people catch you, either live or online, and what is next for you?
Well, people can check me out on jonjonssonmusic.com, facebook.com/jonjonssonmusic, twitter.com/jonjonssonmusic and even on instagram -> jonrjon.
My next big live performance will be at a festival on Westmann Islands, off the coast of Iceland. They have it every year during the first weekend of August. Tons of Icelandic artists and other music lovers come to have fun. This year Ronan Keating will be performing! But I’ll let you guys know when I will be performing in the States.
Next for me is to just keep writing and performing. I am in the studio these days with the guys in my band, and the stuff we’ve recorded is pretty promising. In the ideal world I would love to tour the US one day.
Thank you guys for everything. Have a nice one.
All the best from Iceland (even though I’m in Liechtenstein at the moment),